Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Pioneer- Dilli Billi -30th.Sept.2012 -"THAT'S HEAVY PRICE FOR SURVIVAL"


The recent price hike has upset the budget of the aam aadmi. But the rich continue to live life king-size at the cost of the hardworking middle class.

The Prime Minister’s address to the nation on September 21, 2012 was welcomed by all. This is because Manmohan Singh rarely speaks and it was a good idea for him to address the country, more so, after the price hike of various essential commodities which has affected not just the poor but also the rich. Manmohan Singh is a master of reforms and the business community has been waiting for economic changes. But whether the message sent by the Prime Minister was well-received by the urban population is not clear but I am told that people living in rural areas listened to him.

But it is sad the people have stopped listening to an address by a head of State. There was a time when citizens would be glued to their TV set or radio to listen to Jawaharlal Nehru or Lal Bahadur Shastri address the nation. We were children at that time and made to sit to listen when these leaders spoke. Today, the public has lost all respect for the politicians. Unfortunately, even an honest man like Manmohan Singh is looked upon with suspicion because of his Cabinet colleagues. The public wonders why Singh bows to non-entities.

Coming back to the price rise. The increase would affect the common man’s budget. Prices of essential commodities have sky-rocketed to an extent that even eating daal-roti has become difficult for the aam aadmi. Poor man’s dream is to give his child good education, clothes and two-square meals a day. But it continues to elude him. On the other hand the scams, corruption charges and the lifestyle of the rich is like slap on the face of the hardworking middle class.

What adds to the woes of the working class is when big industrialists like Vijay Mallya don’t pay salaries to their employees for months but continue to lead life king-size and travel all over the world in their private jets.

The fact that the Government continues to have a non-committal attitude towards the people means that the plight of the common man refuses to improve. One can only imagine how the families manage their household expenses when the bread-earner has not been paid for months.

What is even worse is that the Government protects the corrupt Ministers and doesn’t take action when businessmen don’t pay their employees salaries on time. The fact that they have palatial houses in various countries and yachts docked at different shores means that they have the money for their personal use but not for the man who makes it possible for them to live that kind of life. The nexus between the Government and the businessmen is not good. And as much the Congress President would like to put things back in order, it is going to be an uphill task.

For the common man it is about immediate relief. He wants a better life for his family and, at present, he is unable to provide that. The fact that he sees no improvement in the coming months only adds to his woes.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Pioneer- Dilli Billi -23rd.Sept.2012 -"INDIA NEEDS AN IRON MAN AT HELM"


The problem with the Congress is that there are too many people who call the shots. This means that no work gets done and it is the common man who suffers.

With Assembly Elections coming up in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh in November end or early December, all political parties have gone into prep mode. What would be the end result is obviously the main concern.

In both the States, the BJP has an upper hand and the Congress’ presence is negligible. In Himachal Pradesh, with the late change of Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president and Virbhadra Singh taking over, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has reason to feel insecure. The Congress only rules in 10 out of 28 States. Big States like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Tamil Nadu are out of the its reach in the near future. Hence, it’s crucial for the Congress to win in Himachal and Gujarat.

But the problem is that after the defeat in UP’s Assembly elections, the morale of the Congress worker is at its lowest. Even though Himachal Pradesh is a small State, one win here would go a long way in lifting the party’s spirits. The NSUI win in Delhi proves a point. It is a small win but a win nevertheless. It showcased Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s magic wand at work. A free hand to an experienced leader can have only one result — victory.

It is amazing that the UPA-II continues to remain in power despite so many scams and charges of corruption. The fault lies with Opposition parties who have let down the public with their inability to bring a no-confidence motion against a corrupt and non-performing Government.

No governance, no control over price rise and corruption rampant from top to bottom in the Government machinery has frustrated the public which has become intolerant to everything around it. There is no fear of anything today. The Government has tried to use, or misuse, several investigating agencies to control its opponents or friends. This has made a mockery of these agencies. Even the public can see through the arrangement that the Government makes.

It is shameful that politicians who are party to thousands of crore worth of scams go scotfree while a small-time thief languishes in jail for months. The fault lies with not just the ruling Government but all those who are a part of the bureaucracy.

The sorry state of our country is a direct result of poor governance. One can say whatever one wants to about Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi but fact is that his iron rule in the State has done wonders for Gujarat. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik have also worked towards the betterment of their States.

Unfortunately in the Congress, there are too many people calling the shots. Therefore, confusion and complications prevail and the Congress candidate loses. To improve the image of the country, to get the economy going again and to build the confidence of the common man, we need a leader who can rule with an iron hand.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Pioneer- Dilli Billi -16th.Sept.2012 -"A Broad problem that needs solution"

"A Broad problem that needs solution"

Travelling abroad has become increasingly embarrassing with Indians being asked by foreigners why India is becoming a ‘scams State’. High time we end this global derision.

I was abroad last week. Most people wanted to know what was happening in our country. Unfortunately I, for once, had to leave many questions unanswered and face embarrassing moments. I feel sad for the Indians who live outside. With scams after scams coming out of the closet, with politicians screaming and yelling in Parliament and with crime against women on the rise, I can now understand how helpless they feel when someone quizzes them about the state of affairs in India. And this, despite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh having a clean image and being respected all over the world.

Two years back, while travelling abroad, one got respect because India was shining in every sphere — our economy was booming and there were no scams. We were considered to be the fastest growing nation. Today, we are labeled at a ‘scam nation’. More the scams, the poorer the image of our country. Murders, rapes, thefts, dowry deaths and female foeticide are issues making international news. One doesn’t know how to answer or explain to foreigners, and to Indians abroad, why the Government is seemingly so helpless and unable to solve the problems facing India?

Everything is in a disarray. The aam aadmi is disillusioned. His dream that the Government would solve his problems and that corruption would be wiped out is in shatters. He had seen a glimmer of hope with the burgeoning of anti-corruption movements but that too lie shattered. The public has lost faith in the leadership. It is frightening.

The sad part is that in the second stint of UPA-II, every scam is bigger than the last one. The common man is tired of parties like the Congress and the BJP. He feels that the two largest national parties are hand-in-glove with each other. As for what happens in Parliament — the aam aadmi doesn’t even want to talk about it. He is ashamed to see how a political party with just two or three MPs is able to hold the Government to ransom.

The public feels let down and cheated by every member sitting in Parliament. The fact that scams are being unearthed during Manmohan Singh’s tenure shows how he has failed. The public wants to know why a person with such a clean image allows corrupt Ministers into his Cabinet?

Congress workers claim that they would not get seats in three digits in the 2014 General Election. It appears that the Congress would be happy to sit in Opposition and relax for the next five years. With the amount of salary hike and perks that leaders have given themselves, they would be able to lead a comfortable life. Not to forget the fact that some of them have ensured that nobody in their family needs to work for many generations to come.

Even the industrialists are busy making money and transferring it to foreign banks. They take all the benefits from the Government and when it is time to return the favour, they simply move their place of business. They are insecure with the situation at home so they invest in companies abroad.

Meanwhile, MNCs who were wanting to set shop in India have put all their projects on hold. If the present situation continues, the day is not far when nothing would be in Government’s control. A lot is expected from the young politicians but, for now, they are in pause mode.

One hopes that when the time comes for them to hold the reins, they would come out as honest, hardworking and sincere leaders with respect for the country and its citizens.

One wonders how our leaders feel when they are asked to comment on the situation in India? Do they get embarrassed? Or, do they just ignore the question and move forward?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Pioneer- Dilli Billi -9th.Sept.2012 -"UNRULY POLITICIANS RULE THE ROOST"

The screaming & sloganeering one sees on TV when Parliament is in session makes the public wonder whether we should vote for such kind of leaders.

Last week, when I was watching the Lok Sabha channel, my nephew asked me why people in Parliament were so badly behaved. Now, how does one explain the reason of this misbehaviour to a small child? He was, of course, shocked when I told him that these people are our leaders, make policies and run the country. It is unfortunate that the people we see screaming and shouting at each other are the ones who make the laws, rules and regulations and determine the future of the country.

Even before Parliament starts, the public knows that some sort of hooliganism is bound to happen in Parliament. Politicians have forgotten that today, 60 per cent of the voters are below the age of 35 who watch TV; who are aware of their rights as a voter and would vote when the time comes. Gone are the days when one voted for a political party out of loyalty.

Today, the youth wants a man on the chair who can deliver. I am of the opinion that the aam aadmi today is more comfortable with regional parties. They feel that only a regional party would be able to understand his plight and not a leader who sits in Delhi and only comes to visit the constituency just months before the elections. Many of these Central leaders are unaware of the ground realities and the problems the common man and the partyworkers face. So, while the parties play games the public is tired of being shunted from one party to another like a football. He is not bothered about the hierarchy that may exist in a party. He just wants to live peacefully and hopes that his basic needs are met without having to bribe his way at each level.

It is in the interest of a grassroots worker to know his responsibility and works for the people’s welfare. The commitment and loyalty would reap benefits. He would not be at the mercy of the leaders who sit in Delhi.

I believe that leaders like Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik are popular and win because they have worked for the betterment of the common man. They are under no pressure or suffer humiliation from leaders at the Centre. Each decision they make is independent. They are the ones who hold themselves accountable for any mishap. Meanwhile, the unparliamentary behaviour of our MPs has reached an all time low. Running to the well of the House and raising slogans is shameful. Sycophancy is the top most priority for leaders at this moment. A word of praise from the top authority will determine the rest of the day. Do we want these kind of leaders? Do we want to vote for these kind of people who will frame the policies for our children?

Looking at the young Ministers and parliamentarians one would have expected much more from them. But unfortunately not many are taking their post or work seriously. They are more concerned with wining, dining and building personal relationships with senior leaders. Work is not on their agenda. Many would term this meeting as PR activity but it is the public who suffers in the end.

The lack of commitment one sees in MPs today, gives a glimpse of what the future holds for this country if corrective steps are not taken right now. The growing nexus between industrialists and politicians has only added to the problems. Corruption has taken a front seat. People with Gandhian thinking find themselves at sea. That is the main reason why Akhilesh Yadav swept Uttar Pradesh by simply riding a cycle. He found a connect with the common man. A survey said that people in some Congress constituencies have never seen their MP.

The Congress has not learnt its lesson. And therefore, national parties are losing their workers to regional parties.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Pioneer- Dilli Billi -2nd.Sept.2012 - "NOTHING AT ALL TO RAVE ABOUT"

Rave parties have become a norm for the youth today. The fact that our young ones are nonchalant about them, only goes to show how widespread drug abuse has become.

The Mumbai Police recently cracked down on some so-called rave parties. Ask a common man what he things of such parties and the answer would be — ‘it means the younger generation is taking drugs, drinking, and dancing the night away.’ The ordinary man perceives these dos as pastime of the rich and famous (read TV and Bollywood actors). So, I was shocked to know that such parties happen in Delhi too. What was more amazing for me was the fact that from the rich to the poor, all are a part of this party scene.

Ask a young person what he thinks of rave parties and he will shrug his shoulders and say nonchalantly: “To each his own.” Others want to know the reason for all the hullabaloo that surrounds such parties. Some try and protect their friends and justify people attending them. An unhappy life at home (parents are divorced) and peer pressure makes them want to escape from the reality of life even if it is for a few hours. It is remarkable that these teens take the entire thing so casually. When we were young our parents would ask us to grow up if we went to them with problems. For the youth today, rave parties are the answer, it seems.

I belong to Himachal Pradesh where the hippy culture was prevalent back then. Over the years, many foreigners have settled in this idyllic hill State legally or illegally. Marijuana, grass or cultivated cannabis are locally grown and easily available at cheap rates. The locals never objected to this because it is a boon for their economy and now a part of their livelihood. I know many hotels and guest houses in Himachal where this is a part of their service.

You hear stories of how the biggies in Mumbai and Delhi party hard as an essential part of business. It is called ‘client entertainment’. For many, it is a status symbol to be a part of the “hip crowd”. I remember how a model once told me that “smoking before a show gives me the much needed confidence while walking the ramp”. It makes her oblivious to everything around her, she said.

As for the lower strata, a cop told me that for the baniyan-clad thin bodies one spots under the many flyovers in the Capital, doing drugs is a way to escape from the harsh realities of life. Lying doped for a major part of the day keeps them out of trouble. They forget that they don’t have roti, kapda or makaan. It also means that they don’t have to worry about their children who roam the streets begging or taking to petty crime to feed themselves and their parents.

It is sad that India has become a transit route for drug trafficking. A huge population in the age group of 12 to 25 years has taken to drugs. The number of raids conducted by the police all over the country proves how widespread drug use has become.

A family friend lost her only son to addiction. The supply and demand needs to be rooted out. Every peddler, big or small, should be punished. The police needs to come down heavily on all those who are a part of the chain, including those who attend these rave parties.